Now that Murder on the Side is el-completo, it's time to find an agent! Yes, I know this can be a long, grueling process, something akin to swimming Lake Michigan while the Coast Guard uses you for target practice (if'n you ain't up on Michigan current events, this means nothing to you).
But it's exciting to have my work, or at least my finely tuned query letters, out in Publishing World. I've done it before, but this is the first novel that I've written that's made me feel like a real writer. Why is that? My first was obviously the attempt of a newbie who hadn't bothered to read a single book on plot, characterization, or dialogue. The second was written as a series in cahoots with my crit partners. I think it's publishable, but I had help. This time, I've got at least a sophomore level understanding of the basics of novel writing. Maybe even a junior level. The publishing business doesn't mystify me anymore (stymie, yes, but not mystify).
I understand now that an editor at Harper Collins hasn't been awaiting my arrival for his or her entire career. The work has only just begun. And I'm pumped! I realized the other day that, after my 8 hours in the office, I put in 3 or 4 more hours a day on my writing, whether it be the actual tapping of keys or reading a "how to" book or research. While normal people are watching brain-flogging sitcoms, I'm working. But it feels wonderful.
My friend Mark Terry was telling me how he keeps lining up new novel projects while he's got more than enough paying gigs to keep him going for years. My reply was that he's moving toward what he loves most. Paying the bills is a good thing. But eventually you'll need to answer your calling to find contentment. Even if you don't make a dime off it for the first ten years.
Okay, off to my agent search. Let the games (and the wait) begin!